Although the middle of the season was technically between the Thunder and Magic games, the stretch of four days off provides a perfect opportunity to look back on the season that's been. Here's part one of our four part series breaking down the first 42 games.
1) Best part of the season so far?
Kirk: The growth of O.J. Mayo. Granted, this has not come without some pitfalls and he's had some truly horrid games. But when the season started he simply acted as a spot up shooter. As the season progressed he figured out how to better use off ball screens and started attacking the paint more. He's also gotten much better at passing and after a series of December games where he averaged 5 or more turnovers, he's had one per game over the last six games. Mayo still has a lot of improving to do, specifically getting to the free throw line, but in general he's been a delight to watch in a frustrating season.
Andy: Well, I think you can hardly argue other than that the best part of the season was beating the Lakers in game one. It looked like it would be a whole different season, at that point, but that was largely predicated on the Lakers being as good as predicted, thus a win against them being large potatoes. Since then, beating the Lakers has been achieved by the likes of the Blazers, the Kings, the Magic, the Rockets, the Cavs and other teams more worthy of note.
Alan: About like asking what the best part of a colonoscopy is. That it's almost over? No, I guess it's that the team is finally starting to come together and play consistent quality basketball this past week and a half. They have a stretch leading up to the All-Star break with some favorable matchups and, with luck, if they keep up their current level of play it is at least conceivable they could be hovering around .500.
Tim: It's been kind of fun to get to crack jokes and have no expectations for a team this season. Every year I've ever watched the Mavericks, people were either expecting them to win a title or defend their title. Now that's over with, and it's okay, because Dirk has a ring and there's always hope for next year. As long as this whole losing thing doesn't stretch on for forever, of course...
2) Worst part of the season so far?
Kirk: Losing 9 out of 10 games starting in early December. The worst part of all of it was being able to see the losses from a mile away but knowing with the various team weaknesses that they would still happen unless things all clicked for everyone at the same time. At least it happened in the first half of the season.
: I guess that 13 losses in 15 games bit? I stubbed my toe once, attending a game, but that was probably a little bit worse.
Since then it’s been a tie between "Every time Rick Carlisle
decides to close a game with a small lineup or, as I like to call it, the suicide squad, since they’ve never won, and since Rick is apparently a man who believes so violently in intuition that evidence stands no chance," and "Mike James
Alan: The Derek Fisher signing? I know it created a fecal storm in our (Mavs Moneyball) email chain...I suppose it's not that any one point was "the worst", but what the Fisher thing represented, where guys coming off the street were coming in off the street and playing major minutes as young guards that needed to be evaluated sat on the bench(continuing now with Mike James) indicated to me that this organization was being pulled in two opposite directions, and I fear that a refusal to either be fully rebuilding or fully contending will end up preventing them from accomplishing either soon.
: The "let's replace Darren Collison
with random washed-up point guard off the streets" meme wasn't all that funny, Rick. Don't forget the Dominique Jones
experiment, either. I get that Collison makes some mistakes, but he's the second best young guy on the team and at some point, it's time to bite the bullet, accept some of the mental mistakes, and hope he can develop into something worth keeping in years to come.